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The Marion Branch Library opened to the public at its current location, 1017 West Side Avenue, on December 1, 1930. According to a September 29, 1930 article in the Jersey Observer, “The new Marion Branch will open with about three thousand books on its shelves and new books will be added as rapidly as they can be procured and made ready for use."
“The new branch will be modern and up-to-the-minute both in contents and in service. The new system of mechanical charging of books issued to borrowers, which has been introduced with great success in many libraries throughout the country, will be used and every effort will be made to place the Marion Branch among the foremost libraries of Hudson County.”
Within one month of its existence, the Marion Branch exceeded all expectations. In an article on December 30, 1930, the Jersey Journal reported that “circulation at the recently opened Marion Branch more than doubled during its second week.”
The Journal continued: “The branch was opened on December 1, and during the first week, 847 volumes were taken out. During the second week, just past 2,227 books were taken by residents of the section.”
After only one year in service, this small branch proved its mettle alongside the Main Library and the Bergen, Five Corners, Greenville, Hudson City, Lafayette and Pavonia Branches, and the various medical and school branch libraries of the Jersey City Free Public Library system.
The introduction of the Condensed Report of the Work of the Library during the year 1931 demonstrates perfectly the role of the library as an institution, especially in hard times:
“The business depression has been accompanied by a marked increase in the use of the Public Library. All departments and branches report an exceptionally busy year. The reading and reference rooms have been crowded and the circulation of books for home reading exceeds that of the largest preceding year by 131,563.
“This increase has not been in fiction and recreational reading, but, on the contrary, has been chiefly in serious reading. Never has the Library proved itself of such value to the community as during the present depression.The Library has performed invaluable service in maintaining the morale of the public by supplying the facilities for wholesome recreation.”
Even in today’s economy, our neighborhood branches such as the Marion Branch, which has distinction of being the branch with the smallest square footage in the system, provide the public with a constant source of personal and professional development through the world of books and public access computers.
In 1941, at the Jersey City Free Public Library’s 50th anniversary, the Marion Branch Library had 8,200 books on its shelves for patron loan. Today, the count still hovers around 8,000.
The Marion Branch, now in service for nearly 90 years, places an emphasis on programs that serve the needs of its neighborhood children, including a year-round Story Hour, the Summer Reading Program, and movies. Holiday festivities for adults and children round out Marion’s programming.